When it was named number one in U.S. News & World Report’s “Top Up-and-Coming Schools” list, Wagner College in Staten Island was singled out for making promising and innovative changes in its academics, faculty and other key areas. This month, the school continued its innovation by becoming the latest to announce that applicants will no longer be required to provide SAT or ACT scores as part of their application package. Angelo Araimo, vice president for enrollment and planning at Wagner, had a very straightforward explanation for the college’s decision. “We believe that the best predictor of a student’s potential to succeed at Wagner is the student’s high school transcript,” he said in a statement.

Like many of the other 800 colleges and universities that have also gone test-optional, Wagner takes a holistic approach to admissions. “Our process is very personal,” Araimo said. “I want our counselors to get to know the applicants. Doing that gives us a great deal of confidence in the admissions decisions we make.” The new policy will apply to applicants for the Class of 2015 and beyond. In the FAQs posted with its announcement, Wagner addressed the question of whether its standards were changing. “Wagner has always placed the highest value on a student’s academic record (coursework and grade point average), which is proven to be the best predictor of a student’s success in college. In addition to the academic record, the Admissions Committee takes into serious consideration the student’s recommendations, personal statement, interview, extra-curricular activities, and achievements.” Like other test-optional schools, Wagner will still accept scores from students who believe they provide further evidence of their academic ability.